The year 2018 was definitely a tough year for Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), but seeing how the agency hurdled all the challenges, how it grew as an agency and breached last year’s target, make all the sacrifices and efforts worthwhile.
“My first two years as General Manager was no joke. President Rodrigo Duterte appointed me here in 2016 because he expected so much from me – that I will deliver, that I will stop illegal gambling. I cannot say 100 percent na wala ng illegal gambling kasi meron pa rin talagang mangilan-ngilan na nag-i-iligal at matitigas ang ulo pero unti-unti na silang nagma-migrate sa STL, but from original 18, we now have 84 Authorized STL Agents (ASAs) nationwide,” revealed PCSO General Manager Alexander Balutan.
From P4.7 billion earnings in 2016, the agency was able to raise it to P15.7 billion in just one year, ending 2018 with P26,103,422,348.39 gross sales, a 65 percent increase compared with the same period last year.
“This is record high in history of PCSO even in any other agency. Sinong hindi matutuwa? Kaya talaga abot-abot ang aking pasasalamat sa ating gaming public sa pagtangkilik sa ating mga produkto, sa ating mga masisipag na empleyado at branch managers, at s’yempre sa ating mga STL operators at agents nationwide,” added Balutan.
Of the P63.55 billion gross sales in 2018, Lotto and digit games was the highest earning product at P31,902,529,360 followed by STL.
“In 2016, P37.4 billion lang ang kinita ng ahensya. Nung maupo kami ni former PCSO Chairman Jose Jorge Corpuz, we ended 2017 with P53.9 billion sales to almost P54 billion. Ngayon kasama ni PCSO Chairman Anselmo Simeon Pinili at mga Board of Directors, tinapos natin ang 2018 ng may P63.55 billion na kita,” said Balutan.
STL was introduced in 2006 as part of the government campaign to eradicate illegal numbers game, but the initial implementation was not successful.
Over the years, the agency was plagued with alleged corrupt activities that even President Rodrigo Duterte described it as the “most corrupt agency in the government”.
To help fight crime and corruption, the President appointed former uniformed men in government offices, such as Balutan as PCSO’s general manager.
Balutan, a battle-tested former marine general who earned the moniker “Mandirigma” (warrior) from his many battles and years in Mindanao, was described by the President as “berdugo”.
Unlike in jueteng, which is being drawn only under a mango tree, STL has draw courts where proceedings are being supervised by representatives from PCSO and Commission on Audit (COA).
“Kaya malaki ang tiwala ng tao kasi sabi ko nga, nakikita nila ang in and out ng pera. Ang laki ng kinikita ng STL. Kung talagang ipa-patronize ng publiko lahat ng ating produkto, mas malaki pa ang ating kikitain at maitutulong sa ating mga kababayang nangangailangan ng tulong medikal,” added Balutan.
Balutan was aware that many people were affected by the implementation of STL, especially illegal gambling operators and their local government protector, which led them to discredit STL.
“Alam n’yo ba na bukod sa nire-remit ng ating mga STL operators na ingreso sa PCSO, may efforts din ang ilan sa kanila na tumulong sa pamamagitan ng mga medical at relief missions lalo na sa mga lugar na naapektuhan ng mga bagyo. Eh ‘yung mga jueteng lords nagagawa ba ‘yan?” added Balutan.
PCSO Charter, or RA 1169, particularly on revenue allocation, provides that the revenue of the PCSO shall be allocated to 55 percent for prize fund (payment of prizes), 30 percent for charity fund (various charity programs and service) and 15 percent as operating fund (maintenance and operating expenses).
“Tangkilikin po natin ang ating mga produkto. Kapag tumaya ka, bukod sa mga tsansa kang manalo, makakatulong ka pa. Bawat taya para sa kawanggawa,” Balutan ended.